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Sunday, February 8, 2009

When Oceans Split

Reading: Exodus 12-14

Before I start tonight I want to ask you all to take a moment to pray for those affected by the Victorian bushfires- those who have lost family and friends, those injured, those who have lost their homes and those who have had to stand by and just try to work out what has happened to their loved ones. Already the toll has exceeded that of Ash Wednesday. Towns like Kinglake have been wiped out completely. I have to wonder if they will ever recover. I am blessed to say that although I grew up in Bendigo - where one fire has ripped through a large section of urban houses - I believe my friends are ok (my family are safe here in Canberra). Still, it has been deeply shocking.

If you would like to donate to the Victorian Bushfire Fund please call: 1800 811 700

It is perhaps appropriate that the theme of the reading today is hope. In chapter 14 we read how God split the Red Sea so that the Israelites could walk through on dry land. Think about that for a moment; God actually split the sea and allowed the Israelites to walk through it. The sea. This is an incredible miracle. For years, the Israelites felt forgotten by God as they worked in slavery, then, seemingly out of nowhere the Lord raised up a leader for them and saved them through His mighty power; with plagues and miracles. He lead them and went before them as a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire in the night.

It is important to remember moments like this in the Bible when you feel like there is no hope. As an environmentalist, I often hear news about the world that makes me feel hopeless. So many species becoming extinct, so little action about climate change, so much trouble and suffering both human and animal all over the world. I look at the snow in Britain and the floods in QLD and the insane heatwaves in VIC and NSW and I wonder how we could have let climate change get to this point. If you don't believe in it now, and don't believe that humans have cause it then you never will. It is at moments like these that I am so very glad I am a Christian. Because no matter how bad it gets, God can always help. With faith, I can always pray and I can always believe that God is ready and willing to perform a miracle. Otherwise I might give up. You have to admit that climate change is scary. What we are doing to our ecosystems is scary. I'm not sure we can fix it. But God can. With His help we still have hope. He might not act when we want Him to, and we might have to do some work to prepare (as the Israelites had to celebrate the passover) but he does provide us with hope, and I think this is one of the most valuable things Christians can offer the environmental movement.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+